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2i6                           THE GAY GENIUS

moderation, simple living, enough work, enough rest, and above all
no worries and avoiding emotional disturbances oŁ all kinds. In othe
words, one always comes back to common sense. Su Tungpo expressec
his common-sense philosophy of simple living in the form of four rule:
for living which he had culled from the ancient books. One Chan^
asked him for a recipe for long life, and he wrote the following:

"i. Having leisure equals having power.

2.  Going to bed early equals having wealth.

3.  A leisurely stroll is as enjoyable as a drive.

4.  Eating late is as good as eating meat.

"This is a good recipe for a contented life. If a man eats when he
is ravenously hungry, any vegetable tastes better than all the delicate
foods. On the other hand, when one's belly is full, he thinks nothing
of the best food laid out before him and wants only to have it re-
moved. I consider, however, that this formulation is unfortunate!
It is enough to say that it is good to take a slow stroll and that food
tastes good when one is hungry. Why should we speak of such
pleasures as compensations for the luxuries ? That shows those who
invented these phrases always had the idea of a carriage and of
meat in their minds."

I like best Su TungpoJs common-sense counsel on moderation an^
simplicity in his letter to his friend Li Chang.

"I am approaching the age of fifty and am beginning to try to sa^e
up something. I suppose it is mostly plain stinginess and that I anj
rationalising it by the beautiful word 'thrift'. But when people like us
try to provide against the rainy day, we don't do it like the others.
The whole beauty and charm lie in aiming only at having enough to
live on. There is no limit to our material desires for food and cloth-
ing and shelter. But if we can be thrifty and moderate, we shall be
following the road to happiness and a long life. This may sound like
parsimony, though it is a parsimony that is forced upon me, but I do
believe it is a good satisfactory design for living, and I wish to share

it with you. Have a good laugh!"

Li Chang had now returned to the capital, and even Wang Kung hai
been pardoned and come back north. The Emperor was repenting of
the punishment he had dealt out to the opposition. It is an irony of fate
that just when Su Tungpo was about to get settled and live a happy
retired life, following his "satisfactory design of living", he was whisked
away from his place of rest into political turmoil once more. The anl
which had been running against a turning millstone thought that the
stone was now definitely standing still. But it began to turn again.